What makes you Happy? and Synthetic Happiness


Few days back, I was attending a job interview. It was a technical interview but in between interviewer mystified me with a question – “Manoj, what makes you happy?”

Why does someone want to make me happy? That is the first question came to my mind. I need a job, that is my expectation while attending the interview. I don’t have a quick answer for the question as I couldn’t find a polished reply to enthrall the interviewer.

Once I come out from that room, two questions are around me 1) why does somebody want to make me happy? 2) What makes me happy?

Finding answer for the first question is tricky; it requires inputs from ‘someone’ which is difficult and even if I get answers that might not be true inputs. So I’m leaving that question for the time being and will try to find answer for the second question which solely depends on me.

After few hours of thinking, I realized I really don’t know what makes me happy or in other words there are too many things made me happy in different situations. The object/service that made me happy in certain period might not make me happy now. In short, my happiness is not constantly depends on a single object. My concept of happiness is also not constant. Even I started asking, who am I? I don’t have a constant answer for that as well. I don’t know much about myself. So it is difficult for me to answer, what makes me happy. My concept of happiness is evolved through different periods of my life. I realized, I’m not going to get an answer for – what makes me happy. As perplexed with these thoughts, I started Googling. [These are situations I feel ashamed about myself; I’m depended on Google to find answers related to me… But in certain situations it helped me to widen my awareness in that area].

I’m stuck on a concept called ‘Synthetic Happiness’. Yes, it says we can manufacture happiness as we need. Happiness researcher, Daniel Gilbert also says, ‘frequency of your positive experiences is a much better predictor of your happiness than is the intensity of your positive experiences. We imagine that one or two big things will have a profound effect. But it looks like happiness is the sum of hundreds of small things. ’
You can read more on this from

http://www.mbird.com/2012/01/daniel-gilbert-on-synthetic-happiness-and-the-difference-between-a-challenge-and-a-threat/

Another site has an elucidation; ‘those who are having lesser complaints are the happiest and thus richest in the world’.  I like to believe that, it is the only way I could find my name in Forbes magazine’s world’s richest 100 people list.  Don’t know Forbes magazine will accept this definition for ‘richest’ though.

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About Manoj R

I don't know... still trying to find out...
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